Samoa coach Matt Parish has given Reni Maitua another chance after a Brisbane brawl but it is yet to be seen if the troubled star’s NRL club does the same.
Samoan coach Matt Parish has given another chance to Reni Maitua after the troubled rugby league player’s heavy fine for his involvement in a Brisbane brawl.
But it remains to be seen if the ex-Kangaroo’s NRL club Canterbury does the same.
Still, Parish did not want to talk about either topic ahead of Samoa’s Four Nations debut against England in Brisbane on Saturday.
Samoan players Maitua, Tautau Moga and Sauaso Sue have been stood down but will be considered for their second match against New Zealand at Whangarei on November 2 despite their involvement in a brawl last weekend in Fortitude Valley.
League powerbrokers were not so forgiving – the trio each fined $10,000 this week.
Moga was one of eight men who were arrested following the fracas outside a nightclub after an official Samoan team function.
But it was serial offender Maitua’s presence when the fight erupted that grabbed all the headlines.
A former Kangaroo, Maitua is extremely popular with teammates and won plenty of respect with his very public battle with depression.
However, he was considered on his last warning with Canterbury following the assault of a taxi driver late last year.
Parish did not want to speculate on whether Maitua was playing for his NRL future at the Four Nations.
“I can’t comment on that,” he said.
“I feel for all the boys who got in trouble.
“It’s been done and dusted. It’s been spoken about endlessly – it’s over.
“We want to talk about footy.
“We are honoured to be in this tournament and want to make a contest of it.”
Asked if Samoa were starting on the back foot in the tournament due to the well-publicised incident, Parish said: “No, not really.
“We haven’t missed a training session because of that.
“It seems to be just you guys who seem to be talking about it.”
However, Parish believed plenty of Maitua’s lesser-known teammates would be playing for NRL contracts as a physical Samoan team looked to make a big impact on the Four Nations.
Samoa downed Fiji 32-16 in May to qualify for their first Four Nations tournament but try telling Parish they are here to make up the numbers.
“Not at all. We have trained with passion which you would expect from a Pacific nation and now we need to take that to the ground on Saturday night,” he said.
“I know all these players can lift with a Samoan jumper.
“Some of these guys are vying for an NRL contract so we won’t be lacking effort on Saturday.”